Aodake Asian Bistro's chefs quickly whip up traditional and westernized Japanese, Taiwanese, and Chinese food. Guests order their meals at the front counter, and then head to a free table to wait for it. There, they can relax and watch TV or take advantage of Aodake's free WiFi while swirling yaki soba noodles, biting into oyster tempura sandwiches, or popping cooked- and raw-fish sushi rolls into their mouths. Aodake also has a variety of vegetarian rolls that feature the likes of avocado, sweet potato, and free-range seaweed.
The bistro opens early to ply guests with Taiwanese dan bings and Asian breakfast sandwiches. The dan bing is a savory crepe crammed with green onion, eggs, cheese, and sauce. The Asian breakfast sandwich features a fried egg, cheese, cucumber, lettuce, tomato, and sweet mayo on toasted Asian milk bread.
There’s no Jerry at Jerry’s. Owners Mark Bires and Mindy Friedler chose the moniker as an homage to Jerry Garcia, whose freewheeling spirit they evidently share, given that they’ve traveled the country sampling sandwiches ranging from Chicago's italian beefs to Philly's cheesesteaks, from New Orleans's po boys to New England’s lobster rolls. It’s easy to see the influence of their journeys on the eatery’s menu, a staggering array of more than 100 regional and ethnic sandwiches that could make a magic 8 ball cloud over from indecision. Root-beer-glazed ham, beef tenderloin, and fried tofu are but a few of the sandwiches’ centerpieces, their flavors accented by offerings such as fried green tomatoes and grilled asparagus. Diners can also customize their own creations from a board filled with meats, veggies, and 10 different bread options. Hand-formed burgers, rustic-cut fries, and decadent desserts add weight to the menu like an extra stripe adds weight to a zebra. At the eatery's bar, diners scan rows of roughly 200 American craft beers accessible by bottle or tap, and they savor a selection of 70 American whiskeys. When the digital jukebox needs a break, Jerry's hosts live music, the catchy tunes of which slither through door cracks and out to the outdoor dining area.
Among the Wonders of the World, Machu Picchu dazzles its visitors with a glimpse into an Incan civilization that was once deemed lost to time. The same can be said for Machu Picchu Restaurant in Chicago, which brings the tastes of tender steaks, seafood ceviche, and marinated chicken down from the Peruvian highlands. Exotic dried peppers accent the pulled chicken, and garnishes such as fried yucca enliven plates of deep-fried fish. As if that weren’t enough, wall-to-wall photomurals surround guests with mountaintop views of Machu Picchu's polished stone buildings and close-ups of adorable alpacas. Guests can bring along a bottle of their favorite beverage to pair with their cuisine.
RavenswoodQ offers a variety of barbecue dishes that range in flavor from Texas to Carolina-style. It all starts with the restaurant's in-house smoker, which coaxes rich, complex flavors out of free-range chickens, racks of baby-back ribs, and Dinosaur Bone-cut beef short ribs. After being delicately smoked, meats are paired with house-made barbecue sauces?including molasses-based sweet and spicy sauce and vinegar-based Carolina sauce.
To accompany these hefty servings of meat, RavenswoodQ offers a variety of side dishes that would seem right at home in a Southern kitchen?think corn bread, hush puppies, and collard greens made with turkey. Still, there's no shortage of creative options, such as buffalo chicken egg rolls and smoked barbecue chipotle wings.
Heat is key at Tango Sur, where flames lick the edges of rib eye, filet mignon, and pork. The Argentinean grill specializes in flavorful steaks, though its menu includes other Latin specialties such as empanadas and matambre—veal rolled and cooked with veggies and served cold. The dining room’s dim lighting fosters an intimate vibe where couples can retreat for a date night. When the weather warm, this BYOB spot opens its sidewalk seating for al fresco dining.
Venice may be thousands of miles from Chicago, but Italian chef Stefano Roman does his best to bring his native city’s cuisine to the Lakeview neighborhood. In the eyes of Time Out Chicago, which recently honored Pizza Rustica on its list of the"100 Best Things We Ate & Drank This Year," he has succeeded wildly. Time Out specifically hails Roman’s “unique and daring pizzas,” noting the distinctiveness of their “layered, crunchy crust." His specialty pizzas, topped with ingredients such as rosemary potatoes or marinated mushrooms, are among the eatery’s most popular dishes, as are the specials he writes down in chalk or spaghetti sauce on a trio of blackboards every night.